Why do this?

My father, José Luis Villamizar Melo, passed away in my home town of Cúcuta, Colombia, in August last year. The law and economics were Dad's profession, but literature, history and academia his passion. He wrote and published several books, articles and book chapters. The thing is that so many people have missed out on his work, particularly on his beautiful poetry, which he wrote in Spanish prior to the world wide web. So I thought, what a better way to keep Dad's legacy alive than to bring his writing beyond his world and share it with mine. That is why I am translating over 250 of my Dad's poems to English and publishing them here, one a day, Monday to Friday during 2011 (Dad, a family man, always believed that you shouldn't work on weekends).

Friday, July 1, 2011

A stall at the marketplace (Puesto en la plaza de mercado)

Let’s head out for the markets this weekend and find the herb that cures all sorrows! From my Dad’s book Elementary motherland (Patria elemental).

A stall at the marketplace (Puesto en la plaza de mercado)

Here is the stall with the fruit
and medicinal plants, fresh, still icy,
just arrived under the cover in the back of the morning truck,
which brought, just as confined,
the first light of day from the countryside.

With dawn come small bundles of branches
which have a special place and a price for their aroma and virtues.
Each one of them has something to do with the life of the body,
the life of the soul and love like the expression of this final life.

To maintain the rhythm of the spirit at an appropriate level,
for the liver to function well as the regulator of love,
for sleep to arrive on time to caress dreams as a sedative
in the melancholic hours…basil, peppermint, lemon balm,
borage and lime, plantain, camomile,
‘Condiamor’, purple ‘Cariaquito’,
rhubarb, even the ‘Mountain flower’
with its cruel fate.

These do not come alone. Dripping with dew
the flowers make them company. Flowers domesticated
for consumption during moments of grief
and the joy of other hours…

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